Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs 4: Which Smartwatch Is Better for You?

There are many opinions regarding getting a smartwatch. On our end, we believe that if you’re big on mobility and leading an active lifestyle, having a smartwatch on your wrist is a necessity.

While it’s clear that the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and 4 smartwatches are designed to meet the varying needs of an active lifestyle, the different features and functionalities of each watch are bound to make one more suitable for you than the other.

This Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs 4 comparison post attempts to cover everything you need to know about both watches so that it’s easier for you to choose between them, so stick around.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs 4: Which Smartwatch Is Better for You?

Before getting into a more comprehensive review of the two smartwatches at hand, here’s a side-by-side comparison of the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and 4.

Point of ComparisonGarmin Vivoactive 3Garmin Vivoactive 4
Ideal ForAthletesAthletes
Display240 x 240 pixels260 x 260 pixels
Battery Life7 days8 days
Fitness Tracking FeatureYes, but limitedYes, with extra Features
Price PointAround $120Around $220

It’s clear that both the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and 4 are excellent smartwatches with slight differences here and there; hence, making a choice based on these differences alone may not be sufficient. With that said, here’s a more in-depth review of their key features.

Ideal For

Both smartwatches are ideal for athletes, including runners, cyclists, and swimmers. They both have onboard GPS, so you’re able to track your exercises without connecting to your phone.

Additionally, the 2 smartwatches support ANT+ connectivity, making it possible for you to connect to other sensors like heart rate monitor, foot pods, and more for workout tracking.

The Vivoactive 4 goes a step further in including the increasingly popular pulse ox sensor, which monitors the oxygen content in your blood not only while you’re asleep but even during the day.

Both smartwatches have an all-day heart rate monitoring feature, and they will alert you if your heart rate is abnormal. A key difference here is that the Vivoactive 4 also alerts you if your heart rate is too low; a feature that the Vivoactive 3 doesn’t have.

Another key difference is that the Garmin Vivoactive 4 can monitor your heart rate even underwater, making it an ideal smartwatch for swimmers.

Both the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and 4 smartwatches have activity tracking profile options for cardio, elliptical training, indoor rowing cycling, treadmill and outdoor running, and swimming exercises.

The Vivoactive 4, however, has additional options for pilates and breathing exercises for promoting relaxation and focus while reducing stress levels.

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 4. Unlike the wonderful but limited features of the Vivoactive 3, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 offers many additional features and functionalities that make it more suitable for active athletes.

Read also: Garmin Venu vs Vivoactive 4: Which Should You Pick?


Under direct sunlight, the insights provided by both smartwatches are visible and easy to read as they both use color memory-in-pixels display.

However, the Vivoactive 4, with a pixel resolution of 260 x 260, has a higher resolution than the Vivoactive 3, which has a pixel resolution of 240 x 240.

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 4. The higher the resolution, the more we’re invested!

Music on the Go

The Vivoactive 3 and 4 let you listen to music on the go by connecting to your Bluetooth headset. However, the standard Vivoactive 3 doesn’t feature onboard storage, whereas the newer Vivoactive 4 does, making it more suitable for music enthusiasts.

With the Vivoactive 4, you can easily download music from third-party service providers like Amazon Music, Spotify, and Deezer for offline listening.

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 4. Most music lovers would find this smartwatch ideal mainly because of its onboard storage capacity of up to 500 songs; something that’s lacking in the Vivoactive 3. You can use the Vivoactive 4 to listen to your favorite music tracks with or without your phone.

See also: Garmin 645 vs 245: Which Should You Pick?


The Garmin Vivoactive 3, with a price rate of around $120, is much cheaper than the newer Vivoactive 4, which is priced at around $220.

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 3. It’s around $100 cheaper than its newer counterpart.

Battery Life

Both smartwatches feature a durable battery, but the Vivoactive 4 has an edge when it comes to the battery, as it can last for as long as 8 days in smartwatch mode and for 6 full hours with GPS and music enabled.

The Vivoactive 3’s battery, per contra, lasts for 7 days in smartwatch mode and up to 13 hours in GPS mode.

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 4. The slight edge it has over the Vivoactive 3 is definitely worth considering.


The Garmin Vivoactive 4 comes in 2 sizes: 45mm and 40mm, unlike its predecessor, the Vivoactive 3, which comes only in 1 size.

Hence, users are given the option of choosing what size of watch they want.

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 4. Depending on the size of your wrist, you get to choose a suitable Vivoactive 4.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 – Pros & Cons

Fitness tracking/heart rate monitoring 
Option to listen to music via your Bluetooth headset 
Make online payments via Garmin Pay
Over 15 pre-installed sports apps 
Comparatively affordable 
Built-in GPS 
Solid battery life
Can be personalized by downloading apps, widgets, and watch faces from the Connect IQ store
Can receive and respond to texts
Sleep tracking
Can only accept or reject calls; you can’t speak through the watch
No music storage
Watch faces can be erratic
Alarms from watch may be noisy for some users
No animated on-screen workouts

Garmin Vivoactive 4 – Pros & Cons

Music storage of over 500 songs 
Over 20 pre-installed sport apps
It can track your respiration and hydration
Fitness tracking
It can make online payments via Garmin Pay
Can accept and reject calls
Can respond to texts 
On-screen animated workout 
Can be personalized by downloading widgets, apps, and watch faces from Connect IQ online store 
Safety and tracking features
Can download songs from third-party services like Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer.
Knowing how to use the watch’s features may be difficult for some users
Functionalities of the watch easily drain battery life
Watch font may be too small to read

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs 4: Picking the Watch That’s Right For You

In our opinion, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is an ideal fit for you if you’re looking for a watch that supports basic fitness tracking features, monitors heart rate, and keeps tabs on your day-to-day activities at an affordable price.

However, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast leading an active lifestyle and you’re looking for a smartwatch that goes the extra mile, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 is the way to go, although it’s not the most budget-friendly option.

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 satisfies your cravings for additional features in a smartwatch. It gives you in-depth health analysis, tracks and gives reports on daily exercises, has an inbuilt storage space for music, and many other notable additions that you’ll appreciate.